To the friends and family of the Venice Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, who I consider as my own, thank you for a wonderful 11 year run as a participant at the temple. The warmth and passion for the Nenbutsu was one of the reasons I felt compelled to go to Kyoto to further my studies in Jodo Shinshu and receive my Tokudo and Kyoshi. The conditions at the temple I encountered, first as a Dharma School teacher, then as a minister, have made me who I am today. If the folks who came to say thank you to me only knew, it is I who need to express my thanks because without your support, friendship and help, the person I am today would not be. The “ears” to hear a Shinshu message are growing fast and strong here at Venice. So again, thank you, for without your “ears” to listen to my sharing the Joy and Light of Amida Buddha, my being at Venice would have had no purpose. You will always have my gratitude as I venture into the future.
Venice is instrumental in validating my next adventure in life, that is to start a Nenbutsu Dojo. So although I am sure you will see me occasionally, I will be focusing my efforts towards that end. So the spirit of “Ondobo Ondogyo” continues and I hope in the future, whether I fail or succeed, the family I leave in Venice will forever remain an anchor in my life. Again, thank you for this great ride of 11 years, and to quote Buzz Lightyear, “To infinity and beyond!”
Take good care, Gasshou.
Rev. Ray Fukumoto
March 30, 2014